How Much Does a Patent Cost?

How Much Does a Patent Cost?

Acquiring a patent grants exclusive rights to the owner, ensuring others cannot use, manufacture, or sell the claimed invention.

This protection serves as a valuable asset, safeguarding the time and hard earned resources you’ve invested in research and development.

Louis-Pierre Gravelle, a partner at the Montreal-based law firm Bereskin & Parr, explains that companies pursue patents to protect their inventions from competitors.

While the patent filing process may appear intimidating at first, it can significantly impact a business’s success, making it a worthwhile investment.

Comprehensive information on this subject can be found in various books, and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) website offers detailed guidelines and required forms..

Understanding patents and associated costs

A patent is a personal or corporate legal document issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), granting inventors exclusive rights in exchange for disclosing their invention to the public.

It enables inventors to prevent others from using, selling, or manufacturing their invention for a specified period. To qualify for a patent, the invention must be new, nonobvious, and useful.

The costs of obtaining a patent vary depending on factors such as the type of application (provisional or non-provisional), the type of patent (utility, design, or plant), the entity size (large, small, or micro), and international patents.

Additional expenses may include search fees, examination fees, and fees for attorneys or patent agents. Below are the current fees provided by the USPTO.

How much does a patent cost for different entities

Large entity

  • Provisional application: cost – $260
  • Utility basic filing fee: cost – $280
  • Design and plant basic filing fee:cost – $180
  • Search fees: cost -$120-$600 (depending on type)
  • Examination fees: cost -$460–$720 (depending on type)

Small entity

  • Provisional application: cost – $130
  • Utility basic filing fee: cost -$70
  • Design and plant basic filing fee: cost – $90
  • Search fees:  cost -$60–$300 (depending on type)
  • Examination fees: cost – $230–$360 (depending on type)

Micro-entity

  • Provisional application: cost – $65
  • Utility basic filing fee: cost – $70
  • Design and plant basic filing fee: cost – $45
  • Search fees: cost – $30-$150 (depending on type)
  • Examination fees: cost – $115-$180 (depending on type)

It is important to note that these fees are subject to change, and specific types of patents may have additional costs.

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Class of patent applications

Provisional Patent Application (PPA)

A provisional patent application (PPA) serves as a temporary placeholder for inventors seeking “first to file” status, requiring less extensive processes compared to non-provisional patents.

PPAs involve shorter paperwork and lower fees than regular patent applications. However, it is crucial to file a non-provisional patent within a year, or the process must begin again.

Utility Patent (General Non-Provisional)

Instead of opting for a provisional patent, inventors can directly pursue a non-provisional patent, popularly referred to as utility patent.

This type of patent covers a broad range of inventions, including internet-related innovations.

It is granted to individuals who invent or discover any new and useful process of doing something, machine, article of production and manufacture, or composition of matter.

A patent examiner reviews utility patent applications, and if all patentability requirements are met, a patent is issued.

Design Patent

Design patents are less expensive than full utility patents and focus on protecting the aesthetic and ornamental aspects of an article of manufacture.

They apply to new, original, and visually appealing designs, such as dress or shoe designs.

Plant Patent

Plant patents are specifically for asexually reproduced, distinct, and novel plant varieties, including cultivated hybrids.

Additional fees, charges, and surcharges may apply to different types of patents, and costs are subject to change.

Consideration for business size or filing entity

The USPTO offers reduced fees for small businesses and micro entities based on regular patent fees. Here is how these designations are defined:

Small entity

Small entities include entities with 500 or fewer employees and affiliates, such as independent inventors and non-profit organizations. Small entities receive a 50% reduction in application fees.

Micro-entity

Micro-entities are small businesses that meet specific criteria, including having less than a certain amount of annual gross income and being classified as a small business or entity (with fewer than or equal 500 employees) according to the USPTO.

As of the year 2021, the highest qualifying entity’s gross income for micro-entity status is $206,109. Micro-entities benefit from a 75% reduction in fees.

Fees for patent search

Conducting a patent search is crucial to ensuring the novelty and distinctiveness of an invention. Several options are available for performing a patent search:

  • The USPTO offers search services for a fee.
  • Individuals can conduct a quick search using relevant terms and fields.
  • The USPTO provides a helpful patent search tutorial for those who prefer to conduct the search themselves.
  • For international patent applications, the USPTO provides a list of patent collections across the globe.

It is worth noting that engaging a patent attorney or patent agent to conduct a thorough search is highly recommended, although it may come with a higher cost.

International Patents

To protect inventions globally, the US is a party to many treaties and many international agreements respectively.

Those seeking international patent protection should refer to the USPTO article on the subject and seek assistance from a patent attorney or agent specializing in international patents.

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Additional Patent Fees

During the patent process, additional fees may arise or be suggested by patent attorneys or agents. The amount of these fees depends on how big or small the  filing entity is.

 Examples include examination fees for international applications, drawing fees, and service fees.

Patent attorney and agent fees for patent applications

Patent attorneys and registered patent agents typically charge hourly rates, often requiring a retainer as a minimum fee.

While a patent attorney assists in creating the patent application, only a registered patent agent can file the application.

The cost of these services varies based on complexity, competitiveness, and required expertise, ranging from $300 to over $1,000 per hour.

It is advisable to seek a registered patent agent who is also a patent attorney and specializes in the relevant product or invention.

Tips for minimizing patent costs

For small businesses pursuing a simple do-it-yourself utility patent, costs may range from $1,000 to over $15,000 for a complex patent filed by a specialized patent attorney.

To reduce patent application expenses, individuals can take the following steps:

  1. Undertake as much preliminary work as possible.
  2. Ensure the product meets the patentability requirements.
  3. Conduct a preliminary search independently and then have a patent agent or attorney perform a comprehensive search.
  4. Research existing patents and competition, including online searches.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the patent application requirements and complete as much information as possible before involving an attorney.
  6. Interview multiple attorneys and agents to assess their expertise, fees, and compatibility with your needs.

By maximizing personal involvement and conducting thorough research, patent application costs can be minimized. This approach also improves the chances of successfully obtaining the desired patent.

Fees for various applications

Small entity fee

  • 2023 fee: $210.51
  • 2024 fee: $225.00

Standard fee

  • 2023 fee: $421.02
  • 2024 fee: $555.00

Late fee

Late fee under subsection 27(7), subsection 27.1(2), or subsection 35(3) of the Patent Act:

  • 2023 fee: $150.00
  • 2024 fee: $150.00

Maintenance Fees

Fee for maintaining an application in effect:
For the dates of each of the second, third, and fourth anniversaries of the filing date of the application

Small entity fee

  • 2023 fee: $50.00
  • 2024 fee: $50.00

Standard fee

  • 2023 fee: $100.00
  • 2024 fee: $125.00

How to submit a patent application

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Verify Eligibility

Before proceeding with a patent application, it is essential to confirm eligibility by submitting the application to the appropriate patent office. Trained patent examiners will review the application to assess its validity.

Gravelle explains three primary criteria for a successful patent grant:

Novelty

The invention must be entirely unique, with no similar counterparts existing worldwide. Extensive research is often necessary to establish this aspect.

Utility

The invention must have economic value, indicating a market demand for the new product, with people willing to pay for it.

Non-obviousness

The invention should not be an obvious solution that any skilled professional in the relevant field could easily devise to solve the specific problem addressed by the invention.

To illustrate, let’s consider the example of shampoo. Patents can be granted for various aspects related to shampoo, including

  • the product (a new type of shampoo bottle),
  • the composition (specific compounds or molecules used in the shampoo, especially for curly hair),
  • the machine (a specialized machine used in shampoo bottle production)
  • the process (unique methods or processes involved in shampoo manufacturing)
  • improvements made to existing shampoo-related patents.

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FAQs about how much does a patent cost

How much does it cost to get a patent?

The expenses associated with acquiring a patent can vary significantly, ranging from $900 for individuals opting for a self-guided application to a range of $5,000 to $10,000 or more when seeking assistance from patent attorneys. A patent protects an original work, and the entire cost of the patent acquisition process is determined by criteria such as the kind of patent (provisional, non-provisional, or utility) and the intricacy of the invention.

How much does it cost to file a patent?

Engaging a patent attorney to file a patent application generally costs between $8,000 and $10,000, although expenses may exceed this estimate. To adequately cover the entire patent application process for your innovation, it is advisable to allocate a budget of approximately $15,000 to $20,000.

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July 17, 2023
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